Latest News

29
Aug

Judge Upholds MSHA’s Respirable Dust Sampling Guidance

Procedures in an MSHA handbook for setting a quartz-based respirable dust standard at a mine are interpretive rules that do not require notice-and-comment rulemaking and are reasonable, a judge has ruled.

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28
Aug

Texas Mine Hit Hard in July Impact Inspection

A Texas metal producer received significantly more citations than of any of the 15 Coal and three Metal/Non-Metal (M/NM) mines MSHA targeted during impact inspections in July.

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28
Aug

Blast Damages Homes in California

Two homes were damaged Aug. 21 following a blast at an aggregate mine in California.

The incident at Superior Ready Mix Concrete, L.P.’s Mission Gorge sand and gravel plant in San Diego knocked a bowling ball-sized hole in the side of a garage of one home and broke a window in a second dwelling.   According to an accident report on MSHA’s database for the mine, “clay material” was released in the blast.

“It appears that a clay seam occurred in the rock to be blasted. The clay seam went undetected,” the report said.  No one was hurt.

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28
Aug

Coal Miner Sentenced for Falsifying Records

A West Virginia coal miner has been sentenced to two years of supervised release for falsifying mine safety records.

The sentence was handed down in federal court in Wheeling on Monday against Sean A. Chase, 32, of Spencer.  Chase was convicted earlier this year of lying to federal agents and making false representations and certifications on mine safety records.

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27
Aug

Safety Alert Issued Following Explosion

MSHA has issued a safety alert http://www.msha.gov/Alerts/PVC%20Safety%20Alert.pdf following a June 2012 explosion inside the sealed area of an underground coal mine that blew out three of four of the seal set’s water drainage pipes.

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27
Aug

Miner Dies in Apparent Fall at New York Stone Mine

A miner was killed Tuesday in an apparent fall inside a storage facility at a limestone mine operated by Gardenscape of New York near Gouverneur.

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25
Aug

Judge Denies MSHA’s Motion to Reconsider Temporary Reinstatement Ruling

A judge has rejected MSHA’s request to economically reinstate a former employee of a Nevada gold producer because the operator wants her to return to work instead.

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21
Aug

Belatedly and Reluctantly, MSHA Awards Grants to States

Belatedly, and surely reluctantly as well, MSHA has awarded $8.3 million in state grants funding to 47 states and the Navajo nation.

The funding is belated because it is for fiscal year (FY) 2014, which is nearly over.  It is likely to have been reluctant because the agency had sought to eliminate all state grants funding for this year.  The effort failed because Congress has not approved MSHA’s budget, and is unlikely to do so before the end of FY 2014 on Sept. 30.  The agency is operating on a continuing resolution.

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21
Aug

Maintenance Supervisor Killed at Virginia Coal Mine

A maintenance supervisor died Wednesday in an electrical accident at a coal mine in southwestern Virginia.

Michael Junior Justice, 41, of Rowe was killed at Consol Buchanan Mining Co., LLC’s Buchanan Mine No. 1 near Oakwood, the Bristol Herald Courier reported, citing Tarah Kesterson, spokeswoman for the mining authority in the state.  The accident occurred around 10:55 a.m. Justice was pronounced dead at 12:29 p.m. at Clinch Valley Medical Center in Richlands.  An autopsy will be conducted.

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20
Aug

Judge Nixes Special Assessment against Coal Operator

A judge has slashed a fine against an Illinois coal operator by 95% after determining MSHA’s decision to special assess a violation was unwarranted.

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20
Aug

Worker Remains Hospitalized after Texas Mine Accident

A miner hospitalized for six days following an accident at a Texas lignite mine has been released, while the remaining hospitalized miner has been moved from the intensive care unit.

The update today, courtesy of MSHA spokeswoman Amy Louviere, pertains to an accident Aug. 13 at Luminant Mining Co., LLC’s Sulphur Springs Strip Mine in the Hopkins County community of Thermo.  Six persons were injured when they unexpectedly came in contact with hot debris from an out-of-service lignite storage silo.  A fire official said hot ash and burning embers fell on the miners. 

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20
Aug

Persistence Needed to Locate NIOSH CIB on Tobacco Policies

NIOSH is seeking comments on a newly released Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB) dealing with workplace tobacco policies, but the Institute has not made finding the document easy.  Read more »

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19
Aug

Appeals Court Dismisses Industry’s POV Challenge

An appeals court has dismissed mining industry lawsuits against MSHA over its pattern of violations (POV) rule for lack of jurisdiction.

In a decision released today, a panel of the Sixth Circuit also declined to transfer the litigation to a district court.  Perhaps the only good news for the industry was that the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning no industry right or privilege has been lost or waived.

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19
Aug

MSHA Gets Court Order for Access to North Dakota Mine

A standoff between a North Dakota excavation company and MSHA has ended with an agreement to allow the safety agency to conduct inspections without interference.

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19
Aug

Probes Coming in Mount Polley Disaster, Company to Seek $100 Million for Cleanup

In the wake of an environmental disaster, officials in British Columbia have announced two separate investigations will be launched, and the company responsible has said it will attempt to raise $100 million to cover cleanup costs.

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18
Aug

Two Remain in Hospital after Texas Coal Mine Accident

Two of the five miners hospitalized last week following an accident at a Texas lignite mine remain hospitalized today. 

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14
Aug

Group Sends Canadian Company Eviction Notice Following Spill

In a clear example of what happens when a company jeopardizes its social contract, native Indians in British Columbia have issued an eviction notice to a metal mining company whose tailings pond spilled massive quantities of waste into the environment of the western Canadian province.

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13
Aug

Officials Dealing with Mine Waste Spills in Mexico, Canada

Authorities of both countries bordering the U.S. are dealing with toxic waste releases from tailings ponds at metal mines that have led to restrictions on water use for nearby residents.

On Aug. 7, about 10 million gallons of toxic waste was reportedly released from Grupo Mexico’s Buenavista copper mine in the northern state of Sonora, about 25 miles from the U.S. border.  The waste, which was said to contain sulfuric acid, turned water in a river orange and left 20,000 people cut off from water supplies.  

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11
Aug

Metal/Non-Metal Mine Rescue Competition Winners Announced

Top honors in this year’s national metal and non-metal mine rescue competition went to three teams representing metal producers in Missouri, Wyoming and New Mexico.  Read more »

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11
Aug

Water Restrictions Remain in Place for Some after Canadian Mine Dam Breach

A week after a massive breach of a tailings pond in British Columbia, water restrictions remain in place for some residents.

The impoundment pond at Imperial Metals Corp.’s Mount Polley Mine in the central part of the western Canadian province sent billions of gallons of gray sludge and 4.5 million cubic meters of metals-laden fine sand into nearby lakes and streams, including Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake.

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IN THE AUGUST ISSUE OF SHARPE'S POINT: ON MINE SAFETY

MSHA Unloads on California Aggregate Operator
Heavy Enforcement Jeopardizes Mine

Opinions: Loose Ends
Views on Aracoma, Research Data, Openness

Changes are Afoot for MSHA’s Driver Contract
Cost of Unneeded Service Likely to Go Up

Legal Briefs
Noteworthy Settlements

Analysis: Operator Wins Case Having Wide-Ranging Implications
Special Assessment Procedures Challenged

OpEd: U.S. Lags in Coal Disaster Prevention Research and Technology
Little Improvement Seen Since UBB

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Coming Events

Oct. 6-8, Natcher Conference Center on NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD

Oct. 22, PERA Building Training Room, Santa Fe, NM

Oct. 24, ENMU Union Building, Roswell, NM

Poll

How much of the $1 million MSHA has available in Brookwood-Sago grants will go to the UMWA's training center?
Up to $250,000
20%
$250,001-$500,000
0%
$500,001-$750,000
40%
over $750,001
40%
Total votes: 5

Current Regulatory Agenda

Proposed (P) Final (F)
(DFR) Direct Final Rule

MSHA
(F) Prox Detect Devices: CMMs Jun '14
(P) Fees for Product Testing Aug. '14
(
P) Civil Penalties Issued Aug '14
(P) Prox Detect Devices UG Sep. '14

OSHA
(F) Update NAICS Jun '14
(F) Confined Space Construction Aug '14
(F) Slips, Trips, Falls Oct '14
(F) Improve Injury Tracking Mar '15
(
P) Employers' Rptg. Obligation Aug '14
(P) Beryllium Jul '14
(P, DFR) Eye, Face Protection Sep. '14

Fatalities

          2014

  • Coal 9
  • Aggregates 9
  • Other M/NM 9

Total 27

         2013

  • Coal 20
  • Aggregates 12
  • Other M/NM 9

Total 41

         2012

  • Coal 20
  • Aggregates 10
  • Other M/NM 6

Total 36

    2011
  • Coal 21
  • Aggregates 8
  • Other M/NM 8

Total 37

 

 

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